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“Go home and tell them what you did today and why.”

“a) grotesque; b) merciless; c) heartless; d) callous; e) inhuman; f) shocking; g) unbelievable; h) overkill; i) all of the above & more.

Go home to your spouses, children, parents, friends, neighbors and classmates and tell them what you did today and why. Then pause and tell yourself in silence if they deserve to be proud of you.”Atty. Edre U. Olalia, President, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Journalists, lawyers slam Nasino’s ‘cruel and barbaric’ BJMP guards

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned the personnel of the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (BJMP) who tried to prevent political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino from being interviewed by reporters at her infant daughter’s wake in Manila yesterday, October 15.

Four BJMP escorts surrounded Nasino to block her from cameras and later attempted to drag her back to jail in violation of the four-hour furlough granted by the court.

The incident caused a commotion inside the funeral parlor as Nasino’s lawyers prevented the jail guards from snatching the grieving mother.

In a statement, the NUJP said Nasino’s visit to her deceased daughter was clearly a matter of public interest as it is part of an issue that touches on some very basic human rights, “particularly that of a mother deprived of the opportunity to nurture her child and, failing that, to comfort her and bid her goodbye in her final moments.”

“The BJMP personnel who trampled on the rights of both the news personnel covering the event and of Ms. Nasino, whose incarceration does not deprive her of the right to free expression were either ignorant of media’s role in a democracy or did not care, not surprising given how the head of state himself has shown nothing but contempt for a free and critical press,” the NUJP said.

The group demanded an immediate and transparent investigation into the incident and for sanctions to be leveled against both the unit commander and the personnel who obeyed what the NUJP described was an illegal order.

Bulatlat’s video of the commotion caused by BJMP guard at Baby River Nasino’s wake.

Cruelty and Barbarity Without Compare

Nasino’s lawyers said the BJMP also lied when they said before Judge Paulino Gallegos of RTC Manila Branch 47 that they lacked the personnel who can guard Nasino overnight and thus asked that her furlough be shortened from three days to six hours.

The lawyers said about 47 jail and police officers guarded Nasino from the Manila City Jail to the funeral parlor and were armed with high powered firearms in what they said was deceptive overkill.

They also complained that the guards flanked Nasino wherever she went and refused to let her speak with her family and counsel or view her baby in private.

The lawyers, members of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), said the guards came looking like they were poised for battle even as they knew Nasino would not risk the chance to bury her child by attempting an escape.

“With their sheer number, the guards were the ones who overcrowded the wake. They also did not observe social distancing,” they said.

“It is clear that Ina’s escorts came to scoff at her grief by destroying the solemnity of the funeral with tension, fear, and intimidation. They arrested her on fake charges and caused the early separation of her baby in jail. What is another act of cruelty and injustice?” they said.

Atty. Ma Sol Taule, one of Nasino’s lawyers, said they know the women jail guards who attempted to snatch Nasino away were just following orders but expressed sadness the BJMP personnel did not understand the grief of a fellow woman who has lost a child.

“Hindi kami pumayag. Masyado ng maraming pasakit ang dinanas ni Reina Mae at ng kanyang anak sa kamay ng gubyernong ito,” she said. (We did not let it happen. Reina Mae and her child have suffered too much pain at the hands of this government.) # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

De Lima, rights defenders warn UN on Duterte’s ‘snake oil salesman of a government’

By adopting a more diplomatic tone in its resolution on the state of human rights in the Philippines, did the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) expect the Rodrigo Duterte government to suddenly behave? Senator Leila de Lima asked.

Reacting to the Council’s position on the penultimate day of its 45th General Session last Wednesday, the imprisoned Senator asked the UNHRC if after 28,000 murders and hundreds of cases of attacks on critics and human rights defenders, does it expect the Duterte government to “grow a conscience and cultivate an appetite for the promotion and defense of human rights?”

In a statement read at an online press conference by her spokesperson Atty Fhillip Sawali last Thursday, October 8, the Senator also expressed doubt that the technical cooperation offered by the UNHRC to Duterte’s government will finally enable it to fulfill its international obligations on human rights.

De Lima said the resolution is “not responsive to the human rights calamity under the Duterte government,” adding the new UNHRC resolution is out of sync and incongruous with its earlier resolution calling for in-country investigations by independent experts on reports of human rights violations the President himself encouraged.

“It does not meaningfully address the need to stop the policies and practices that result in EJKs (extrajudicial killings) and other gross human rights violations. It does not put in place an independent investigation of the killings and other abuses,” de Lima said.

She added that technical assistance and capacity-building for domestic investigative and accountability and similar measures do not result in any concrete mechanism that can lead to the prosecution and punishment of the masterminds and perpetrators of crimes and human rights violations.

The Senator said she fears that the government may just use UNHRC’s supposed technical assistance and capacity-building programs as convenient covers to hide its actual policy of contempt towards human rights and human rights defenders.

“In other words: the new UNHRC resolution fails to take concrete steps towards ending the killings. It likewise fails to advance the cause of justice for the numerous victims and their bereaved families,” she said.

De Lima urged the UNHRC “not to be easily swayed by the snake oil salesman of a government that has clearly declared an open war against human rights and the rule of law.”

 “How do you disable a killing machine? You confront it tenaciously, with all the talents and tools that you have, aiming at disarming and dismantling it, and holding responsible all its masterminds and operators,” de Lima said.

Diplomacy at work?

Philippine government officials were quick to welcome the UNHRC resolution and claimed the international body trusts that Philippine criminal and judicial institutions to address human rights violations.

In an online briefing Thursday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the resolution “shows that the UN Human Rights Council trusts the institutions tasked to address human rights violators.”

“We will fully cooperate with the UN Human Rights system because that is what we want. We are not saying we are perfect. Do not criticize us and help us instead,” Roque said.

Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra for his part said he will get the proferred technical cooperation with the UNHRC going and create a panel to review drug operations resulting in deaths.

The latest UNHRC resolution was co-sponsored by the Philippine government.

‘Simple posturing’

Asked on the possible reasons for the tone of the resolution and the calmer response by the Philippine government, National Union of Peoples Lawyers president Edre Olalia said it appears that the Duterte government is shifting its stance from belligerence to mollification.

“After overwhelming, persistent and consistent condemnation by the international community on the state of human rights in the Philippines, the Duterte government painted itself to a corner by its combative stance in the past,” Olalia said.

“The calmer tone may be a tactical approach to temper criticism of its record and it may also be a strategic approach to preempt accountability for its human rights violations,” Olalia added.

The lawyer also explained that voting at the UN is political and influenced by set voting patterns, lobbying, quid-pro-quo among States, and regional considerations.

“But what is relevant is whether the victims receive justice or the perpetrators are only emboldened further. In the end, it is the policy and reality on the ground that matters,” he said.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay added that the Duterte government should not be too quick on claiming it won points with a resolution written in fine language.

“What is very clear is that there still needs to be strong domestic accountability and impartial investigations,” Palabay said, noting that the resolution is still based on the report filed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) detailing thousands of rights violations by the Duterte government.

“The challenge here is how the Philippine government honors and views OHCHR recommendations, as well as those by other independent local and international human rights organizations,” Palabay stressed.

Palabay recalled Duterte’s recent online address of the UN General Assembly where he called for “open dialogue” and “constructive engagement” but complained that human rights had been “weaponized” against him and his government by local and international critics.

“Duterte is clearly just posturing. In any case, the ball is in the government’s court, so to speak,” she said.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas also dismissed the government’s assurance of dialogue and cooperation with human rights mechanisms.

“Any technical cooperation and capacity building on human rights for the part of the Duterte government  would just be tokenistic and superficial. Duterte’s practice of human rights promotion is practically naught. Soon enough, he would [again] be verbally lashing at the UNHRC and human rights defenders,” the KMP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Mother of political detainee appeals to have daughter and infant reunited

By Joseph Cuevas

Maritess Asis, mother of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino, renewed her appeal to the Supreme Court to release her daughter who just gave birth last month.

This after jail authorities ordered Nasino’s one-month old baby girl be separated from her following the Manila Court’s junked her petition to be allowed to take care of the infant at least a year even inside the prison.

At around 12:30 pm Thursday, August 13, Manila City Jail Female Dorm personnel handed over the infant to her grandmother.

The baby, wrapped in a blanket, was wailing when separated from her mother, Asis said.  

“Mabigat sa dibdib ko, nakita ko kasi ang anak ko. Kaya nananawagan po ako sa Supreme Court. Ibaba niyo po ang desisyon para makasama na niya ang anak niya,” she said. (It is heartbreaking to see my daughter this way. That is why I am appealing to the Supreme Court to hand out its decision so that my daughter would be with her infant.)

Maritess Asis, mother of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino, with her granddaughter.

Asis said that she herself was only able to see her daughter from a distance during the turnover.  

“Ang sakit-sakit po na magkahiwalay sila. Nararamdaman ko po ang nararamdaman ng anak ko,” she said. (It is painful that they are separated. I feel what my daughter feels.)

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) lamented the government’s decision to separate Nasino from her infant, describing the move as ruthless and callous.

In a statement, NUPL said that amid the pandemic, authorities are pushing for the “heartless and inhuman act” of separating a baby from her only source of nutrition and protection at a vulnerable stage of her life.

The lawyer’s group also expressed dismay at the Manila Court’s ruling that lactation facilities that will enable mothers like Nasino to express milk should be referred to the local government or the appropriate government agency, “implying that these are no concern of the jail.”

The irony is the government is celebrating Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August under Section 12 of RA 11028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009. Under this law, all government agencies have the duty to uphold children’s right to their mothers’ breastmilk,” the NUPL said.

“Likewise, under RA 11148, or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act of 2018, Ina (Nasino) and her baby should not to be separated for early breastfeeding initiation and exclusive breastfeeding, which is part of the strengthened integrated strategy for maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition in the first one thousand (1,000) days of life,” the group added.

Nasino gave birth last July 1 at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital and was forcibly returned to prison with her baby a day after.

She was arrested November last year along with two other activists in what her fellow activists describe as part of an ongoing government against progressive groups.

Meanwhile, political prisoners support group Kapatid reminded Supreme Court magistrates about its long-pending petition to release select prisoners due to COVID 19.

The group said it filed its petition last April 8 requesting that pregnant women and lactating mothers, the elderly and sickly, and those who have served their sentences be freed to help decongest prisons and prevent outbreaks in the country’s overcrowded prisons. #

Health advocates file petition for mass testing

By Joseph Cuevas

Health professionals, workers and women filed a petition before the Supreme Court last Friday, July 3, asking the executive branch to implement mass testing and provide accurate and reliable data to the people on the coronavirus 19 or Covid-19.

Citing the people’s right to health under the Philippine Constitution,  the petition for a writ of mandamus shall compel the Department of Health and other agencies to conduct pro-active mass testing, aggressive contract tracing and effective isolation, and treatment of Covid-19 positive cases to contain the spread of the virus.

The 74-page petition was filed by Citizens’ Urgent Response to End Covid-19 (CURE COVID) spokesperson Judy Taguiwalo; Coalition for the People’s Right to Health convenor Dr. Joshua San Pedro; Bahaghari bational spokesperson Rey Valmores-Salinas; Migrante International chairperson Joanna Celeste Concepcion; GABRIELA Network of Professionals secretary general Lovely Ramos; Drug, Food and Allied Workers Federation-Kilusang Mayo Uno secretary general Debie Faigmani; BPO Industry Employees Network president Mylene Cabalona; Alliance of Concerned Teachers-National Capital Region Union president Vladimer Queta; UP-Pantranco Driver’s Association vice-president Ernesto Lizada; homemaker Marites Arboleda; and K-12 student Via Leigh Hernandez.

The petition is seeks “accurate, timely and complete information with regards to Covid-19 situation including onset of symptoms, history of exposure, co-morbidities, whether the subject is a medical frontliner, data when specimen is collected and actual case validation backlog from the government.”

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, counsel of the petitioners, said that the omission of proactive and efficient mass testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that a systemic and normalized violation of the right to health engenders the impairment of other human rights and liberties, such as the rights to travel, livelihood or work, education, and access to justice

In a statement, CURE COVID pointed out that many health experts said that mass testing is very important in the country’s response to the pandemic.

Mass testing enables countries to identify the extent of the virus’ transmissions among the populace, the group said.

It added that with honest and prompt information, governments can systematically and scientifically trace, isolate and treat the infected and contain the transmission.

“Unfortunately, the [Rodrigo] Duterte administration has fallen very short of doing this. Last April 3, retired general Carlito Galvez, chief implementor of the National Task Force on Covid-19 (NTF Covid), announced that the government will implement mass testing by April 15. This obviously did not happen, as the number of testing needed to ascertain the extent of Covid-19 transmissions has consistently fallen short of the NTF’s very own targets,” CURE COVID added.

The group also said instead of mass testing, tracing, isolation and treatment, the government heavily relied on a militarist response to the pandemic, putting the country under the world’s longest lockdown that resulted to abuses, unnecessary restrictions and undue curtailment of civil liberties.

According to the health department, 38,805 have been infected that resulted in 1,274 recorded deaths as of Friday. #

‘It ain’t over yet’

“It ain’t over yet. We will not cease to exhaust any and all legitimate steps and platforms to challenge this draconian law. This without doubt is the most unpopular and perilous piece of legislation that could ever be pushed by a government that is fixated with the potion of power. In time, we will look back to this day of infamy and say the unbridled and terrorizing power of the government will always bend and retreat eventually when the people push back hard enough.”Atty. Edre U. Olalia, ‘Activist, not terrorist’

International lawyers groups call on Duterte to veto anti-terrorism bill

By Joseph Cuevas

Hundreds of lawyers and legal organizations from all the world expressed “deepest concern and consternation” over the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill of the Philippine government, which they criticize as violative of international laws.

In an open letter addressed to President Rodrigo Duterte, justice secretary Menardo Guevarra and all members of the Philippine Congress, the groups said they are alarmed with potential abuses the measure will unleash upon the Filipino people once implemented.  

“We, the undersigned lawyers and legal organizations from around the world, write to express our deepest concern and consternation about the Anti-Terrorism Bill, also known as House Bill 6875 and Senate Bill 1093, which was apparently passed by a virtual vote in Congress and now transmitted to President Duterte to sign into law,” the groups said in the letter, dated June 11.

The lawyers urged Guevarra in his review of the bill to reject both versions Constitutional as well as procedural grounds and for Duterte to veto the measure.

They also urged members of Congress to withdraw their affirmative votes of the bills and act to protect the basic human rights of the Filipino people.

“The international community is alarmed by the apparent abuses of power and civil unrest that the law will bring about. It will suppress and criminalize free speech and dissent, label and punish political enemies as terrorists, and unjustly deprive them of basic internationally recognized human rights and due process,” the letter reads.

The lawyers said the bill contains overbroad and vague definitions of terrorism that not only criminalize freedom of speech, association, assembly, and the press.

They added that so-called safeguards included in the bill are weakened by the vague definitions of terrorism and protecting public safety and can actually serve to crush legitimate forms of protest, such as striking workers’ picket lines and peaceful mass demonstrations. #

= = = =

The full text of the letter:

June 11, 2020

Dear President Rodrigo Duterte, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and members of the Congress of the Philippines:

We, the undersigned lawyers and legal organizations from around the world, write to express our deepest concern and consternation about the Anti-Terrorism Bill, also known as House Bill 6875 and Senate Bill 1093, which was apparently passed by a virtual vote in Congress and now transmitted to President Duterte to sign into law. In this crucial moment, we urge the Justice Secretary to reject the bill on Constitutional as well as procedural grounds. Further, we urge President Duterte to veto the bill. For members of the Congress, if you are recorded as voting yes, we urge you to speak up and withdraw your vote. You all still have the opportunity to act to uphold and protect the basic human rights of the Filipino people.

The international community is alarmed by the apparent abuses of power and civil unrest that the law will bring about. It will suppress and criminalize free speech and dissent, label and punish political enemies as terrorists, and unjustly deprive them of basic internationally recognized human rights and due process. The bill greatly expands the powers of the executive by the creation of the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC), composed of presidential cabinet officials and retired generals who serve under the pleasure of the President, with the power to declare and proscribe organizations and parties as terrorists or terrorist sympathizers without ample and fair opportunity to be fully heard in a court of law. The bill also authorizes police or military to arrest people without a judicial warrant and detain and investigate a suspect without charges for a maximum of 24 days.

The bill contains overbroad and vague definitions of terrorism that not only criminalize virtually all acts of freedom of speech, association, assembly, and the press, but also criminalize intent justified by baseless, politically motivated accusations. The so-called safeguards included in the bill that claim to protect the people’s freedoms are weakened by the vague definitions of terrorism and protecting public safety and can actually serve to crush “legitimate” forms of protest, such as striking workers’ picket lines and peaceful mass demonstrations.

This bill comes as the attention of the world has been drawn to the War on Drugs carried out by the current administration. These policies have authorized police and armed vigilantes to kill tens of thousands of mostly poor people with impunity. A report mandated by a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to investigate the Philippines’ human rights situation was released recently on June 4th and concluded that extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, and barriers to accessing justice were already rampant, even before this bill was introduced.

The Anti-Terrorism Bill is unnecessary and is a tyrannical upgrade of the Philippines’s already existing Human Security Act. The bill largely contravenes the 1987 Constitution which was a democratic victory following the Filipino people’s ouster of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and the end of Martial Law. It is abhorrent and immoral to pass this legislation while the global community is still suffering under the COVID-19 pandemic. The Filipino people do not deserve a state-sanctioned attack against their basic rights while they struggle to heal from the pandemic. Instead they deserve for their elected legislators to utilize their power, energy, and resources to fight for mass testing, healthcare, and economic relief.

Further, we are troubled that the Anti-Terrorism Bill was certified in a highly irregular manner. There are over 300 members of the House of Representatives. Only around 20 were present in person during the vote, with the rest voting remotely over Viber, and not a proper virtual platform. Multiple members have expressed that the votes they cast were different from the votes that were recorded. A few have withdrawn their vote since that time, stating that they did not have enough time to study the content of the bill before the vote. Therefore, at minimum, the certification of the bill should be rejected on a procedural basis to preserve the integrity of democracy. We oppose any intent to railroad this legislation when there are other more urgent matters being faced by the Filipino people that its government should act swiftly to address.

The Philippines has ratified the International Covenant on CIvil and Political Rights. Among the provisions of the Covenant is Article 19, which states: 1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference and 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include the freedom to seek and receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice. The Anti-Terrorism Bill violates all the rights that the Philippines has agreed to guarantee its people.

As legislators and officials of a democratic nation, we ask you to do justice for the Filipino people. The international community remembers the dark period of Philippine history under Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship and Martial Law. Just as we expressed support for the Filipino people’s rights then, we amplify the people’s call now to not repeat history. Say no to the Anti-Terrorism Bill. Say yes to honoring the Filipino people’s legacy of resisting tyrannical rule and defending democracy through any means. #

Organizational Signatories:
• International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
• Arab Lawyers Association (UK)
• Asociación Americana de Juristas

* Asociación Nacional de Abogados (ANAD) de México
• Asociación Venezolana de Juristas
• Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers
• Center for Research and Elaboration on Democracy (CRED)
• Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild
• Corporación Solidaridad Jurídica de Colombia
• Democratic Lawyers Association of Bangladesh (DLAB)
• FAI-Rade
• FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights
• Filipinx Law Student Association at UC Davis School of Law
• Foundation Day of the Endangered Lawyer
• Group for International Legal Intervention (GIGI)
• Haldane Society for Socialist Lawyers
• International Commission on Labor Rights (ICLR)
• Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice
• National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa (NADEL)
• National Lawyers Guild (United States)
• National Lawyers Guild – NY Chapter
• National Lawyers Guild – International Committee
• People’s Law Office-International Office
• PROGRESS Lawyers Network (Belgium)
• Progressive Lawyers Association – Turkey (ÇHD)
• SURES – Venezuela
• Ukrainian Association of Democratic Lawyers


Individual Signatories:
• Alihan Pilaf, Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), Izmir Turkey
• Aliya Karmali, Oakland, CA
• Angela Cornell, Cornell University Law School, Ithaca, New York, USA
• Ashwini Sukthankar,New York, USA
• Asia Parks, NLG GA, Atlanta, Ga, USA
• Azadeh Shahshahani, Legal & Advocacy Director, Project South. Past president, National Lawyers Guild., Atlanta
• Basawa Prasad Kunale, Bengaluru, India
• Beth S. Lyons, IADL, New Jersey, U.S
• Brittany Burback, Sublime Law, Phoenix, AZ

* Bruce Nestor, National Lawyers Guild – Minnesota Chapter, Minneapolis, MN
• Ceren Uysal, Progressive Lawyers Association, Vienna
• Ceren Yilmaz, CHD , Ankara, Türkiye
• Charlotte Kates, National Lawyers Guild International Committee, Vancouver, Canada
• Chloe Czabaranek, San Jose, CA, USA
• Coleen Rowley, retired FBI Division Legal Counsel, Apple Valley, MN, USA
• Court M. Lee, Esq., Sige! LGBTQIA+ Filipinos, Astoria, USA
• Daniel Meyers, Natiomal Lawyers Guild -NYC, New York
• David L. Mandel, National Lawyers Guild, Sacramento
• Dianne Post, Facilitator, Central Arizona National Lawyers Guild, Phoenix, AZ, USA
• Eduardo R.C. Capulong, CUNY School of Law, NY, USA
• Elvan Olkun, Kocaeli Türkiye
• Emily Brandt, NLG Fresno Chapter, Fresno
• Erdogan Akdogdu, ÇHD, Izmir / Turkey
• Evelyn Dürmayer, IADL representative at the UN in Vienna
• Felicity Gerry QC, Crockett Chambers and Deakin Uni, Melbourne and Carmelite Chambers, London, Melbourne, Australia
• Gilbert Saucedo, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles
• Halime Senli, Antalya, Turkey
• Hoda Mitwally, New York City, United States
• Huwaida Arraf, Esq., civil/human rights attorney, Macomb
• Jackelyn Mariano, National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, Elmhurst, NY, USA
• Jaclyn Quiles-Nohar,Queens, NY
• Jan Fermon, Secretary General, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
• Jeanne Mirer, President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
• Jeffrey Frank, National Lawyers Guild, Chicago, USA
• Jeffrey Petrucelly, National Lawyers Guild, Boston, Suffolk County, MA, USA
• Jerome P. Wallingford, San Diego, California USA
• Jet Orbida, PeacePond Farmers Assoc., Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, Philippines
• Jo Dereymaeker, PROGRESS Lawyers Network, Antwerp, Belgium
• Johanna Gusman, Human Rights Lawyer/Activist , Washington, DC USA
• John I. Laun, Laun Law Offices, Middleton, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
• John Philo, Maurice & Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, Detroit
• John Witeck, Hawaii Workers Center, Honolulu
• Judith Mirkinson, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco, CA, USA
• Judy Somberg, National Lawyers Guild, USA, Cambridge, MA, USA

* Sasamoto, Secretary General, Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP)
• Kari Rudd, San Francisco
• Karla Maria Moreno, National Lawyers Guild, Miami, United States
• Kathy Johnson, National Lawyers Guild
• Katrina Asuncion, Filipinx Law Students Association, UC Davis School of Law, Davis, CA, United States of America
• Kristina Mazzocchi, MM&J, PLLC, Brooklyn, NY, USA
• Lamis J. Deek, J.D. , Global Justice & Human Rights Law Network, National Lawyers Guild, New York
• Larry Redmond, National Lawyers Guild, Chicago
• Louis Dussan – Presidente, Asociacion Americana de Juristas Rama Colombia, Bogota Colombia
• Luís Carlos Moro, from Brazil and General Secretary of American Association of Jurists.
• Marie-Claude St-Amant, Montreal, Canada
• Marjan Kris Abubo, Davis, United States
• Marjorie Cohn, National Lawyers Guild, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
• Mark Stern, NLG IC, Somerville Massachusetts
• Max Boqwana, National Association of Democratic Lawyers of South Africa (NADEL)
• Maximiliano Garcez, Advocacia Garcez, Brasília, Brazil
• Mehmet Altuntas, CHD, Mersin, Turkey
• Mürsel Ünder, Cagdas Hukukcular Dernegi , Turkey
• Naim Eminoglu, ÇHD (Progressive Lawyear Association), Ankara, Turkey
• Natalie González, Esq., New York, USA
• Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, National Lawyers Guild, New York
• Nergiz Tuba Aslan, CHD, Izmir, Turkey
• Philip Althouse, National Lawyers Guild, International Committee, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
• Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London; Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, Colchester, England
• Raymond Lahoud, Esquire, Norris McLaughlin, P.A., Allentown, PA
• Ria Julien, Sugar Law Center, New York, NY
• Richard P. Koch, National Lawyers Guild, San Francisco
• Robert Atkins, UK
• Sabah al-Mukhtar, President, Arab Lawyers Association (UK), London
• Sefa Aydogan, Turkey
• Seraldi Seda, ÇHD, Turkey Istanbul

* Susan Scott, National Lawyers Guild, Inverness, California
• Suzanne Adely, National Lawyers Guild, Yonkers
• Thomas Schmidt, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH), Düsseldorf, Germany
• Troy Osaki, Seattle, USA
• Ugur Esat Kesküs, CHD (Turkiye), Istanbul / Turkiye
• Ümit Büyükdag, ÇHD, Türkiye
• Urko Aiartza, Eskubideak, (Basque Democratic Lawyers assoc. ) &ELDH, Donostia, Basque Country
• Vanessa Ramos, Asociación Americana de Juristas, New York
• Vannalee Cayabyab, Filipinx Law Student Association at UC Davis School of Law, Davis, CA, USA
• William Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana US
• Yevgenii Gerasymenko, PhD, Ukrainian Association of Democratic Lawyers

‘Outrageous instance of double standard and selective justice’

“BGEN Sinas has the gall to violate quarantine rules and publicly display thoughtless extravagance at a time when many people are jobless, hungry and desperately waiting for government aid.

The PNP is unrelenting in its crackdown on ordinary people for purported violations of the law and quarantine rules, which its officials and personnel are themselves breaking. This is nothing but a glaring, shameless and outrageous instance of double standard and selective justice.”

Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez

Secretary-General,

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Carlo Francisco

‘Lawyers must serve justice incessantly’

Congratulatory message of NUPL in regards to the 2019 Bar Exam result:

“There is no “new normal” in rudimentary notions of fairness, equity, justice. Only new perspectives and new approaches from the lens of the people and not the powerful.

Lawyers must serve justice and complain incessantly against everything that is wrong in our society. In the right way, for the right reasons, in the right place, at the right time.

CONGRATULATIONS!”

Atty. Edre U. Olalia
President, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

Jo Maline Mamangun

Lawyers vs lawyer: Calida’s attack against reporter-lawyer Navallo earns objections

The country’s top public lawyer earned the objection of his fellow lawyers after publicly castigating another lawyer while filing a petition questioning how media giant ABS-CBN had been implementing its franchises at the Supreme Court last Monday, February 10.

While being asked by ABS-CBN reporter and lawyer Mike Navallo for an interview, Solicitor General Jose Calida confronted him for allegedly “always criticizing” him in the news.

The lawyers’ group National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said Calida wore a stoic expression when he reprimanded the reporter but used an arrogant tone as “he condescendingly challenged the young but unperturbed Navallo to practice law and face him in court.”

Navallo calmly replied to Calida that he was “only doing his job.”

“Calida’s actions – without doubt condoned if not encouraged and goaded by President [Rodrigo] Duterte’s persistent threats against the media outfit – reveal an attempt at censorship and prior restraint, masked as a perfectly legal action to ‘put an end… to highly abusive practices,’” the NUPL said.

The solicitor general is the official chief legal counsel to President Duterte—himself a lawyer—and the entire executive branch of government.

The NUPL added that Calida’s “feudal treatment” of a fellow lawyer based on his self-professed superiority does not speak well neither of the office he represents nor of the profession.

The human rights lawyers group added that “Calida’s showcase of power exposes this government’s utter disrespect of the people’s right to a free and independent press, and its unqualified intolerance to dissent, disapproval of any diversion from the official line, and aversion to critical yet constructive views, opinions and ideas.”

“It fits right into the mold of presidential tantrums in tandem with legislative collusion. We pray that the judiciary does not become a party to this outrageous lawfare,” NUPL said.

“History will judge all these disingenuous legal assaults against freedoms and liberties the way they deserve. In time, everyone will be given his due,” the group warned.

Former Supreme Court spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te also came to the defense of the reporter, saying Navallo is a good lawyer.

“[Navallo] is a better lawyer than he is a reporter and he is one of the best reporters I know,” Te wrote on his twitter account.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) earlier condemned Calida’s actions, saying he “clearly overstepped the bounds of his office when he turned personal against Navallo” who was on coverage.

The NUJP said Calida was being boorish, “a classic example of a government factotum who mistakes his position of authority as a license to throw his weight around.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)